A Surprise Around Every Bend
Hiking the mountains that surround Tucson brings you to the very heart of Southern Arizona. In the canyons of the Santa Catalinas or on the summit of Rincon Peak, you'll experience a quiet beauty that has a way of putting life in perspective. The adventure of a lifetime is waiting for you on the 800-mile Arizona Trail. Or take an easy-going hike…it's hard to beat our miles of urban trails under clear, sunny skies.
Hiking the Mountains Around Tucson
Five mountain ranges, most of which are protected as parkland, surround Tucson and offer hundreds of miles of trails to hikers of all skill levels. Landscapes range from sandy desert dotted with cactus to rustling groves of aspen and pine, making hiking an all-season sport in Tucson, Arizona.
- Santa Catalina Mountains to the North
- Rincon Mountains to the East
- Santa Rita Mountains to the South
- Tucson Mountains to the West
- Tortolita Mountains to the Northwest
- Arizona National Scenic Trail
Tucson Urban Trails
With weather like ours, you don't have to get out of town to get back to the great outdoors. Tucson's urban trails are a great way to unwind, get some exercise and soak up the sun or stars just minutes from wherever you may be in the city.
"The Loop" is an ongoing project of 55 car-free miles of trails around Tucson and connecting to our neighboring communities of Marana and Oro Valley. It's great for walking, biking, skating, and even horseback riding. If it doesn't have an engine, it's good to go on The Loop.
This 11-mile trail winds through Tucson's north side along the Rillito Riverbed, from Craycroft Road near mid-town nearly all the way to Interstate 10 on the city's northwest side. Don't worry about starting at either end—you can access the trail at lots of points along the way.
Located along the banks of the Santa Cruz Riverbed west of downtown Tucson, this flat, paved trail runs south from Grant Road to 29th Street. The trail includes a portion of the Anza National Historic Trail.
More Hiking in Southern Arizona
The Sonoran Desert and northwestern tip of the Chihuahuan Desert both stretch into Southern Arizona, a region of hundreds of square miles that extends south to the Mexican border.
Just north of Tucson, Picacho Peak is a favorite for hikers and rock climbers, especially in spring when seas of wildflowers seem to set the ground on fire with more color than you'd ever expect in a desert.
South of Tucson, the Chiricahua Mountains, Huachuca Mountains and Dragoon Mountains also offer some of the best hiking trails in Southern Arizona.
Permits & Maps
Stop by a hiking-camping supply store to purchase a map or hiking guide or to contact local hiking groups and organizations for suggestions. The Summit Hut and Southern Arizona Hiking Club are good places to start.